By Mr Protein | In Nutrition, Training | December 4, 2014
Are you trying to improve your health? Below are 12 new monthly healthy habits that you can try to change this month!
- Eat raw Vegetables
It’s no secret that cooking food can remove some of its nutritional value! For example, even boiling vegetables can allow their nutritional goodness to leak away into the water that you’ll later pour down the sink. That’s why it’s often advised to steam vegetables! However, for your first tip to getting healthy try and consume more raw vegetables! Raw vegetables straight from the ground… okay not literally from the ground… contain high amounts of vitamin and minerals that can help support your immune system and optimise your nutritional status. Vegetables such as carrots, celery and peppers are tasty even when they’re not cooked and you could even try enjoying them with a healthy salsa or homemade dip.
- Cut out Processed Sugar
Sugar intake across the world has BOOMED out of control increasing the rate of dental caries, obesity and chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease. That’s not to say you should throw away all sugar and go sugar free- keep the natural stuff but the second step to becoming healthier would be to cut out processed sugar or keep it for cheat meals!
- Drink 8 Glasses of Water EVERY Day
You’ve heard this one before! Drink more water! Water has many, many benefits whereby drinking 8 glasses a day cannot only keep your skin and hair hydrated but can also reduce your hunger cravings and help you lose weight. Carry around a water bottle with you at all times- that way you’ll never forget or have an excuse.
- Workout at Least 4 days a Week
If you’re not already exercising (and if you’ve found yourself on this page you probably already are) then you should be! Make sure your exercising for at least 30 minutes a day 4 days a week! No matter what type of exercise you perform, physical activity is good for or physical and mental well being.
- Cut Out Hydrogenated and Trans Fats
Sugar saw a spark in the media this year… and if you paid attention last year you may remember fats cropping up everywhere. Trans fats are by far the worst type of fat we can consume… how do they exist? Well if you consider an oil- an oil is unsaturated which means its chemical structure has a double bond and as a result it exists as a liquid. Fats on the other hand are unsaturated, meaning they have no double bonds and therefore exist as a solid. Hydrogenated fats are somewhere in between- they are oils that have had hydrogen atoms added across a double bond in a chemical reaction to create a compound that has the properties of a liquid oil but the solidity of a fat.
However, in doing this they generate an isomer called a trans fat- which although comes in handy for making tasty cakes that can last for weeks, also has harmful properties when consumed. Tans fats cannot be broken down by the body and have been shown in a range of studies to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and risk factors such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. So CHECK the labels! If you see hydrogenated oils or trans fats do not buy the product! Cut out these harmful fats if you want to become healthier.
- Eat More vegetarian Sources of Protein
When it comes to consuming protein we automatically think of meat, meat and more meat. But there are tons of vegetarian sources of protein! Don’t limit yourself To become healthier make sure you are consuming a varied diet full of different foods. By consuming vegetarian sources of protein such as quinoa, beans and legumes you’ll also bag yourself some added vitamins and minerals!
- Stretch Your Muscles and Do Yoga
Every heard the saying “stretching doesn’t do anything” – well it’s wrong. If your exercising in order to ensure maximum muscle health you should be stretching your muscles daily and after every workout. Take up yoga! That way you’ll increase your flexibility and it might also help you to relax and achieve a healthier state of mind.
- Increase the Intensity of Your Workouts
Okay so i know we said you should be working out 4 days a week, but don’t be a slave to boring steady state exercise! Mix up your workout and rev up the intensity! Performing high intensity cardio regularly can increase your aerobic capacity and cardio vascular health! What’s more it gives you a chance to improve your physical fitness and challenge yourself! A win-win situation!
- Eat More Good Sources of Fat!
If you want to become healthier then you need to start getting all the essentials- and that includes fat! Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid that is important for a range of functions in the body- it also can help burn fat, improve cholesterol, blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease! Look after your body and your heart health and eat more fatty fish such as salmon- at least one portion a week, and more nuts and seed!
- Sleep for at Least 8 Hours a Day
Work hard play hard … and rest the right way! Make sure you’re getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep every day. Your body needs this time to restore its energy levels and recover its muscles. Sleep will become increasingly important as you increase your exercise load and getting too little sleep can actually prevent you from reaching your goals, lead to weight gain and also added mental stress.
- Eat More Fibre Filling Foods
Fight back with fibre! In the UK we are recommended to consume 19g of insoluble fibre every day! Despite this we come in with a pathetic 12.5g/day. There’s a reason the government recommends this much fibre, whereby fibre has been shown to improve heart health, aid digestion, lead to weight loss and decrease blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The benefits of fibre are all there- so to become healthier you just have to eat it!
- Stay Motivated and Keep a Healthy Mind.
The last tip to becoming healthier is all about your attitude. Don’t dwell on yesterday’s or today’s mistakes- stay motivated because tomorrow is a new day and the opportunities are endless! Strive towards your individual goals and keep a healthy attitude to why you are making changes.